Content strategy explained

This guide offers a comprehensive look at developing a content strategy, highlighting its role in shaping user experience and aligning with brand goals for impactful websites and online stores.

A guide for developing a constructive content strategy

A website’s or online store’s success isn’t just about the design or the tech behind it. It’s about the story it tells, the way it engages visitors, and the journey it offers. At LightSpeed, our content strategy for WordPress websites and WooCommerce stores is rooted in this understanding.

Fundamentally, a content strategy includes planning, creation, and an oversight of your content; whether in written or in various media formats. It forms the bedrock for all content choices to be made, guaranteeing alignment with your brand, values, and business goals.

As such, a valuable content strategy is more than mere page text. It shapes the entire user experience by influencing site structure, navigation pathways, voice and tone, and calls to action. 

Through this guide we’ll explore how these aspects weave together, crafting a unified, impactful, and compelling online presence for your business.

The vital: Content Strategy

At the heart of a resourceful content strategy lies a deep understanding of your audience’s preferences and needs. This knowledge allows the content to resonate with what the users are searching for, creating a genuine and meaningful relationship with them.

For LightSpeed, content strategy is our compass to structure and present content for its maximum visibility, optimization and best user interaction results. It provides valuable insights for strategic placement and thoughtful formatting, essential in capturing and retaining your audience’s interest.

A well-defined content strategy also aids for Return on Investment (ROI) calculations. Through an analytical approach of content’s performance, we can be sure that each piece not only fulfils its intended purpose but also contributes value to our objectives. It ensures that the resources invested in content creation yield meaningful and measurable results.

The starting point: Discovery Session

Before diving into crafting the narrative, it’s vital to outstand your brand, your goals, and your audience. Questions like: what does your company do?, and who are you? help define the core of your business’ online requirements. 

  • Project Aims: Setting clear, measurable goals for the website. What does success mean to you?
  • Audience Insight: Who are your customers? Which are their motivations and needs? How to tailor the user experience to appeal to them?
  • Design Preferences & Competitive Analysis: You’ll want your website not just to reflect your brand but also to stand out in your industry.

In our case we offer a first interview following our Website Briefing Form. A simple yet detailed questionnaire that helps us gauge your needs and objectives. Alongside, when a more in-depth assessment is preferred, our team would perform a paid evaluation through guidelines and briefing questions to extract all the essential details about each particular project.

Take a look at our Discovery Service Page for further details on this procedure

The dive: Content Audit

When planning out a new journey, it’s essential to assess where one is currently standing. This is where a Content Audit fits in. As a comprehensive review of all the content on your website that helps for:

  • Assessing Relevance: Does the current content align with your brand and objectives?
  • Identifying Gaps: What crucial pieces of content might be missing from your website?
  • Measuring Performance: Which pieces of content are resonating with your audience, and which are not?
  • Setting a Baseline: By knowing what is there, an effective plan for what is needed can be done.

The insights drawn from the audit are invaluable for shaping the content strategy, ensuring your website is being focused on its strengths, and its weaknesses are being correctly addressed. Understanding what content you currently have, its quality, and how it aligns with your objectives is vital. 

While a Content Audit can represent an optional service, it significantly influences the success of a website project by pinpointing strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities.

Read more about this in: A Strategic Approach to Website Content Audits.

The blueprint: Sitemap, Navigation & Layout

Imagine trying to navigate a bustling city without a map. It’s easy to get lost, right? The same goes on for a website.

  • Sitemap: This is the city map. It outlines your website’s structure and shows the relationship between various pages. An effective sitemap ensures there’s a logical flow, making it easy for users (and search engines) to understand the site’s hierarchy.
  • Navigation: Think of this as the signposts in the city. Good navigation is intuitive, guiding visitors through the website effortlessly. It helps them find what they’re looking for quickly, enhancing their overall experience.
  • Layout: This is the city’s architecture. The way content is presented on each page, the design, and the usability all play a pivotal role in engaging visitors. A well-thought-out layout ensures content is not just consumed, but enjoyed.

All these elements are deeply interlinked with content strategy. The type of content, its placement, and the journey we want users to undertake inform these structural decisions.

Read more about this in Guide – Content Collection – Site Structure, Layouts & Navigation

The style: Voice & Tone

Every brand has a unique voice, and capturing this essence is key.

  • Tone of Voice: Just as people recognise you by your voice, your brand’s tone of voice makes you distinct in the digital space. It’s not about what you say, but how you say it. Whether it’s professional, casual, playful, or authoritative, the tone should mirror your brand’s personality, ethos, and values.
  • Visual Style Guide: In LightSpeed every project includes a comprehensive visual guide that defines logo usage, colour schemes, typography, and essential website components like icons and buttons.

Read more here: 

The elements: CTAs &  Hero Headers

Beyond structure, it’s the narrative and storytelling that truly resonate with visitors. And this narrative is woven using the tone of voice, CTAs (Calls to Action), and hero headers.

  • CTAs (Calls to Action): These are your website’s actionable prompts, guiding users on what to do next. Whether it’s “Learn More,” “Buy Now,” or “Get in Touch,” these CTAs should be strategically placed and worded to drive desired actions, all while aligning with the content’s intent.
  • Hero Headers: Think of them as your site’s headline act. These are the bold statements or visuals users first see when they land on your website. A compelling hero header captures attention, encapsulates your brand’s essence, and encourages users to explore further.

Read more about: Guide – Hero Header & Call-to-Action

The roles: Structure & Narrative 

So how do sitemap, navigation, and layout relate to voice & tone, CTAs, and hero headers?

  • Consistency: The tone of voice should permeate every part of your website, from the navigation labels to the content on each page. Consistency reinforces brand identity.
  • Guided Journeys: The sitemap and layout determine the user’s journey, but CTAs and hero headers drive their actions along this journey. They work hand-in-hand to guide users seamlessly from one point to another.
  • Optimised Engagement: While the layout ensures content is presented engagingly, the tone ensures it’s consumed, and CTAs ensure it drives action. Together, they optimise user engagement, ensuring each visit is impactful.

The path: Content Collection 

Once we understand where we stand (post-audit) and where we want to go (strategy), the next step is gathering the required content. This phase, known as the Content Collection Process, is your site’s backbone. It involves:

  • Sourcing Material: Gathering all existing relevant content, be it text, images, videos, or any other media.
  • Creating New Content: Based on the gaps identified and the strategy set, new content might need to be produced.
  • Collating Feedback: It’s a collaborative process, and client insights during this phase are crucial to ensure alignment.

And defining the building blocks needed to craft the content narrative: 

  • Company Info: Essential details like contact and address data form the foundation.
  • Site Structure: The sitemap, navigation, and layout define the user’s journey, and they’re intricately linked with your content strategy.
  • Hero Headers & CTAs: These elements shape user interactions and guide them, ensuring they engage with the most vital content and take desired actions.
  • WordPress Specifics: This includes pages, posts, and a strategy for post categories and tags to organise and classify content effectively.
  • WooCommerce Specifics: Crafting detailed product pages, including a classification strategy through product categories and tags.
  • Media Content: From podcasts and videos to image banks and icons, media plays a vital role in engaging users visually and aurally.
  • FAQs: These serve dual purposes – aiding visitors and boosting SEO value.
  • SEO Considerations: Every piece of content, image, or video should be optimised with SEO-friendly titles, descriptions, keywords, and alt tags.
  • Website Emails: This covers all correspondence, from auto-responses to thank-you messages post form submission. Each email is a touchpoint, an opportunity to engage.
  • User details: Capture what users need to be created, along with their author bio, as well as relevant contact information & social profiles.

Read more about in: Content Generation Challenge

 Guide – Content Collection Process

The holistic: Content Workflow

Think of building a website’s content as constructing a house:

  • Content Strategy: It’s the architectural plan. It decides the number of rooms, their placement, the aesthetics, and functionalities.
  • Content Audit: Before adding extensions to a house, we assess the current structure. Similarly, an audit evaluates existing content.
  • Content Collection Process: This is gathering all the raw materials – bricks, cement, tiles, etc., ensuring we have everything we need for construction.

All these stages, when executed in tandem, lead to the creation of a cohesive, engaging, and effective website, ensuring every visitor’s experience is seamless and meaningful.

Follow us on a 5-step guide to Confidently Shaping Your Content Workflow.

Read more in our collection of guides:

The message: Brand Story

At LightSpeed, we’re dedicated to ensuring our WordPress websites or WooCommerce stores aren’t just another site but a compelling narrative that stands out. We bring brand’s stories to life in a created digital space that conveys the right message, that’s truly reflective of a brand’s story.

Reaping the benefits with a robust strategy in place, we follow a Content-First Design Approach: crafting the design becomes more intuitive and effective. By prioritising content, our design approach ensures that the website or store isn’t just visually pleasing, but also resonates deeply with visitors, driving engagement and action. Your content guides the design, rather than trying to fit content into a pre-existing design mould.

In the digital age, content isn’t just king; it’s the entire kingdom. And the content strategy is the map of this realm. By understanding and participating in the audit and collection phases, you’re not just an observer but an active collaborator in building your kingdom. 

Beyond analytics, content strategy provides a sense of direction. It indicates a clear pathway for content creation efforts on what to produce for consistency and relevance, and how to contribute to a unified and purposeful narrative.